Colombian President Alvaro Uribe‘s ‘Democratic Security’ policy is in crisis largely due to the newer generations bolstering the ranks of paramilitary groups, warns a study by a peace group.
Paramilitary activity this year was noted in 293 municipalities throughout the country, up from 247 localities counted last year. The current explosion of violence in Medellin this year contributed to the instability, the report continued, likening the crime wave to that 2002, and violent deaths in this major Colombian city are expected to reach 2,000 homicides by the end of the year.
There are thought to be about 64 criminal gangs scattered throughout the city under the command of a man known by the aliases “Valenciano” and “Sebastian.”
Similar phenomena were reported in seven different areas of Bogota, like Kennedy, Usaquen, Bosa and Suba, said León Valencia, a researcher and expert on the outlaw gangs and guerrillas.
“The resurgence of emerging bands in Bogota and Medellin is worrying. Now there is a dispute over domestic drug markets, which has worsened, as did the foray into other businesses to compensate,” Valencia said.
Valencia blames the surge in violence on a bad bargain the government made with the paramilitaries, who demobilized, but “left intact the specialized structures in drug trafficking, as well as military strength.”
For its part, the FARC have increased their activities by 30 percent, noting this year 1240 reported guerrilla actions, despite major government victories last year such as Operation Jacque, the study concluded.
“The FARC have come back to make inroads in major towns such as Corinth and Garzon and moved their headquarters to the Central Cordillera, and move to the Western corridor where the rebels export 45 percent of the Colombian drug trade,” Valencia said.
More disturbing, the FARC are now showing more intensive strength through using land mines and snipers to harass troops in movement, and using improvised weapons.
The findings were the result of 12 investigators from the Rainbow Foundation, compiled using official figures and reports from 10 national newspapers.